Letters or wildcard '*' please.
Letters please.
Letters please.

Definition of

Etymology 1

From Middle English of, from Old English of (“of, from”), an unstressed form of af, æf (“from, off, away”), from Proto-Germanic *ab (“away; away from”). Doublet of off, which is the stressed descendant of the same Old English word. More at off.



  1. Expressing distance or motion.
    1. (now obsolete or dialectal) From (of distance, direction), "off". [from the 9th c.]
    2. (obsolete except in phrases) Since, from (a given time, earlier state etc.). [from the 9th c.]
    3. From, away from (a position, number, distance etc.). [from the 10th c.]
    4. (Canada, US, Scotland, Ireland) Before (the hour); to. [from the 19th c.]
  2. Expressing separation.
    1. Indicating removal, absence or separation, with the action indicated by a transitive verb and the quality or substance by a grammatical object. [from 10th c.]
    2. Indicating removal, absence or separation, with resulting state indicated by an adjective. [from 10th c.]
    3. (obsolete) Indicating removal, absence or separation, construed with an intransitive verb. [14th-19th c.]
  3. Expressing origin.
    1. Indicating an ancestral source or origin of descent. [from 9th c.]
    2. Introducing an epithet that indicates a birthplace, residence, dominion, or other place associated with the individual.
    3. Indicating a (non-physical) source of action or emotion; introducing a cause, instigation; from, out of, as an expression of. [from 9th c.]
    4. (following an intransitive verb) Indicates the source or cause of the verb. [from 10th c.]
    5. (following an adjective) Indicates the subject or cause of the adjective. [from 13th c.]
  4. Expressing agency.
    1. (following a passive verb) Indicates the agent (for most verbs, now usually expressed with by). [from 9th c.]
    2. Used to introduce the "subjective genitive"; following a noun to form the head of a postmodifying noun phrase (see also 'Possession' senses below). [from 13th c.]
    3. (following an adjective) Used to indicate the agent of something described by the adjective. [from 16th c.]
  5. Expressing composition, substance.
    1. (after a verb expressing construction, making etc.) Used to indicate the material or substance used. [from 9th c.]
    2. (directly following a noun) Used to indicate the material of the just-mentioned object. [from the 10th c.]
    3. Indicating the composition of a given collective or quantitative noun. [from 12th c.]
    4. Used to link a given class of things with a specific example of that class. [from 12th c.]
    5. Links two nouns in near-apposition, with the first qualifying the second; "which is also". [from 14th c.]
  6. Introducing subject matter.
    1. Links an intransitive verb, or a transitive verb and its subject (especially verbs to do with thinking, feeling, expressing etc.), with its subject-matter; concerning, with regard to. [from 10th c.]
    2. (following a noun (now chiefly nouns of knowledge, communication etc.)) Introduces its subject matter; about, concerning. [from 12th c.]
    3. (following an adjective) Introduces its subject matter. [from 15th c.]
  7. Having partitive effect.
    1. (following a number or other quantitive word) Introduces the whole for which is indicated only the specified part or segment; "from among". [from 9th c.]
    2. (following a noun) Indicates a given part. [from 9th c.]
    3. (now archaic, literary, with preceding partitive word assumed, or as a predicate after to be) Some, an amount of, one of. [from 9th c.]
    4. Links to a genitive noun or possessive pronoun, with partitive effect (though now often merged with possessive senses, below). [from 13th c.]
  8. Expressing possession.
    1. Belonging to, existing in, or taking place in a given location, place or time. Compare "origin" senses, above. [from 9th c.]
    2. Belonging to (a place) through having title, ownership or control over it. [from 9th c.]
    3. Belonging to (someone or something) as something they possess or have as a characteristic; the "possessive genitive". (With abstract nouns, this intersects with the subjective genitive, above under "agency" senses.) [from 13th c.]
  9. Forming the "objective genitive".
    1. Follows an agent noun, verbal noun or noun of action. [from 12th c.]
  10. Expressing qualities or characteristics.
    1. (now archaic or literary) Links an adjective with a noun or noun phrase to form a quasi-adverbial qualifier; in respect to, as regards. [from 13th c.]
    2. Indicates a quality or characteristic; "characterized by". [from 13th c.]
    3. Indicates quantity, age, price, etc. [from 13th c.]
    4. (US, informal, considered incorrect by some) Used to link singular indefinite nouns (preceded by the indefinite article) and attributive adjectives modified by certain common adverbs of degree.
  11. Expressing a point in time.
    1. (chiefly regional) During the course of (a set period of time, day of the week etc.), now specifically with implied repetition or regularity. [from 9th c.]
    2. (Britain dialectal, chiefly in negative constructions) For (a given length of time). [from 13th c.]
    3. (after a noun) Indicates duration of a state, activity etc. [from 18th c.]

Etymology 2

A spelling of /əv/ influenced by Etymology 1.



  1. (usually in modal perfect constructions) Eye dialect spelling of have or ’ve, chiefly in depictions of colloquial speech.

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